The real middle-class squeeze

Given the obsession with economic inequality, you might think it’s the main force squeezing the middle class. It isn’t. We have this not from some right-wing think tank but from President Barack Obama’s top economists.

More like a flood than a leak

The systematic “pilfering” from the Petroleum Ministry’s office in the heart of New Delhi of documents which were then handed over to “consultants” and interested corporate entities for a price, has revealed a frightening nexus.

India on a roll

Ardent fans of Indian cricket would have given a lot in exchange for the team’s current position in the World Cup.

The rise of the liberal-right intellectual

The left-liberal variety of public intellectualism has declined in India because of the revival of the liberal-right and neoliberal changes after 1991

Not a make-or-break budget

An astute balance between pushing for a public investment-driven growth and ensuring that subsidies are relevant and delivered efficiently can be a cornerstone of Arun Jaitley’s strategy

Secrecy and information theft

There is a case for extending the high standards which have successfully protected information stored both in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat, and possibly at the headquarters of all three defence forces.

All about a short-lived slowdown

And a pretty quick recovery. The new numbers on national income tell two stories about growth and investment

Industry is shackled by skewed policies

Our foreign trade policy favours high import sectors over labour-intensive ones that earn foreign exchange

Bright spot

India’s solar power initiative is both audacious and laudable but could do with a little fine-tuning

The cost of negligence

With only 10 months left to achieve the critical Millennium Development Goal No. 4 of 38 deaths per 1,000 live births among children under five, India can ill-afford to continue with its indifferent attitude to health care in rural areas.

Death for dissent and disbelief

Maharashtra’s prominent educational, social and cultural institutions have been insidiously infiltrated by forces of the Right that brook no pluralistic dissent

Railways, reforms and resistance

The process of reforms in the Railways is complex and can disrupt a reasonablywell-functioning system, with serious consequences for the economy

The lawlessness of humour 

The law cannot allow itself to be used as an instrument of suppression, of a citizen’s right to speak sense or nonsense.

We need some deft touches from Jaitley

Enough of the roller-coaster uncertainty in policymaking. Manufacturers and investors are looking for stability

A potholed road

Fixed tariffs and unlimited claims have made the third party motor insurance business unviable. Deregulation is the solution

A thoughtful Obama

If taken at face value, President Barack Obama’s closing address to the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism could signal a repositioning of the official White House line on the war against global terrorism.

Dealing with broken marriages

Shelving the decision to allow an amendment of the marriage laws to include ‘irretrievable breakdown’ as an additional ground for seeking divorce will be a regrettable step.

A battle against the inevitable

I’m writing this after hearing an apparently innocuous and encouraging snippet of news — that a new lung cancer treatment is capable of giving sufferers a possible “extra 200 days” of life.

In Nepal, an elusive quest for consensus

If differences over drafting the Constitution between the India-brokered political alliance of parliamentary parties and the UCPN (Maoist) continue, Nepal risks losing existing gains

Comedy without malice

Indian taboos are still too plainly visible for satire to be effective. It may take several generations before they become a talking point between diverse groups. Till then, the chasm between those who laugh and those who get laughed at only widens